Thank you for your warm response to this story! You humble me. Many thanks to my prereaders and my lovely beta Midnight-Cougar. Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms out there. You are such inspirations.

The feeling of another body sliding down the wall beside me shook me out of my thoughts.

"Hey Rose," I mumbled.


I glanced sideways at her. She was watching me with a strange look on her face.


"What? You're seriously asking me what? You come in here unwillingly, looking like you were facing the death squad, and twenty minutes later I almost had to use a crowbar to pry you two apart! And now you're asking 'what'?" Her head fell back, hitting the wall. "Jesus, Bella."

I gaped at her. "Twenty minutes? We were kissing for twenty minutes?" It only felt like a minute or two. Certainly not long enough, in my opinion.

She laughed. "Well, about fifteen. You did sign some paperwork. Sort of."

"Sort of?"

"The two of you were so busy playing peek-a-boo with each other, neither of your signatures are legible or on the right lines. Both of them look like chicken scratch."


Her head tilted toward me, a huge grin on her face. "That was one of the hottest things I have ever seen. I swear the camera almost melted."

I giggled. "It felt pretty hot."

"I had to send Sam out of the room."


"He was sporting a boner five minutes into the kiss. When Edward shoved you against the wall, I was afraid he was gonna come in his pants. Hell, I was afraid I might as well. I texted Em and told him to meet me for lunch. And it ain't no sandwich he's gonna be eating." She winked. "If you catch my drift."

I buried my face in my hands, embarrassed beyond words, but unable to stop laughing. I wasn't sure I could ever look at Sam again. Or Emmett for that matter. But nothing embarrassed Rose.

Rose bumped my shoulder, chuckling. "I thought I was going to have to turn the hose on the two of you."

My head fell back and we shared an amused glance.

"Has, uh, that happened to anyone else?"

"Nope. We've seen some hot kissing, a few pecks and some really uncomfortable attempts, but nothing, and I mean nothing, like the inferno we witnessed in here." She paused. "Do you want to talk about it, Bella?"

"It was him, Rose."

"Him, who?"

"Mr. Blurry."

"The guy that stepped on your fingers? That was Edward?"

I nodded, touching my lips. They were still on fire from his possessive mouth.

"Bella, what's going on? I've never seen you like this before—ever."

"I have no idea. But I'm seeing him tonight." I drew in a deep breath. "There's something between us; something I can't explain."

"That's his cock. I've tried explaining this before." She nudged my shoulder again. "I even spelled it out for you."

Another giggle burst out of me. I had felt his arousal pressed against me—loud and clear. I arched an eyebrow at her. "Besides that, Rose." I became serious, hesitating, because I wasn't sure how to explain what I was feeling to her. "Something…profound. Like I was safe. Like I was…home." I swallowed, my throat suddenly feeling thick. "I think he felt it, too."

"Holy fuck," she whispered. "Bella."

"I know."

"You were only supposed to kiss him. Not fall in love."

I stared at her. I wasn't in love with Edward. I only met him an hour ago. That was impossible.

Wasn't it?

Rose shrugged. "Stranger shit has happened."

Oh. True.

She chuckled. "Wait 'til Edward finds out you mutter out loud a lot. That should amuse him."

My phone buzzed. I smiled when I saw his name come up. He'd made sure our numbers were exchanged before he left and that he had my address. He told me he'd be googling it on his way to the car so he knew where to pick me up later.

I never got your last name, Sprite.


Bella Swan – it suits you. But I prefer Sprite. I am off at 6. I can pick you up at 6:45?

I smiled as I replied.

Looking forward to it.

Actually if I take a shortcut I can be there about 6:41.

Please be safe. I would rather wait the 4 extra minutes.

OK, Little Sprite. 6:45. But I am adding 4 minutes onto the end of our date—I will not be denied 4 minutes of time I could spend with you.

I blushed as I replied. Okay. Duly noted.

If, in fact, the date ends at all. Just saying.

I shook my head at his words. He made me feel so…wanted.

You better have a pocketful of those peppermints. You'll need them.

I giggled. Done.

Rose grabbed the phone away and read our texts.

"Little Sprite?"

She started to grin as I told her why he called me that and by the time I finished talking, she was smiling so wide, I was sure her cheeks had to hurt. "He's fucking named you, Bella. He's an animal guy. You know what that means. Once they name you, they keep you. You are so done."

Before I could protest, my phone buzzed again. We both looked at the screen.

Is it 6 yet? BTW, dibs on tomorrow too.

Sorry, I forgot my manners. My mother always told me to say please. So, please. Dibs on tomorrow.

"Oh shit," she muttered and pushed herself up on the floor, pulling me up with her. "I had better get busy with research."


"Booking a church and all. Takes time, you know. At this rate, I have a feeling you're gonna need it."

I giggled as I walked behind her. "Rose?"


"Did you see how big his feet were?"

She stopped so suddenly. I stumbled into her back, almost knocking both of us down. She started to laugh and flung her arm over my shoulders.

"I did notice, actually. I was certainly impressed. But for you to notice? Now that is impressive and I know it's serious—for both of you. C'mon, Little Sprite. We got some talking to do." She winked. "Maybe another trip to the drugstore is in order. Feet that big—we need some magnums."

My eyes widened.

Was it extremely warm in here?


Around three I started panicking. Should I change? Should I stay in what I was wearing? He said my skirt was pretty. Maybe he wanted me to keep it on. Oh God…maybe he wanted to be the one to take it off.

Why was it so hot in here?

I didn't know what we were doing on our date.

Although I hoped some of the evening involved kissing.

Lots of kissing.

It would be a shame if Edward wasted the whole evening using that sexy mouth of his only for talking.

No. More kissing was needed.

Strains of music came from my pocket and I dug out my phone, confused. Then I started to laugh. Rose had added a ringtone for Edward—If I Could Talk to the Animals. She was vastly amusing. I'd have to find one for Emmett and add it next time I saw her. I had passed him in the hall as I left the building. He told me with a huge grin he was bringing her lunch. But there had been no bag in his hand and recalling her earlier words, I had to bite my lip and hurry away. Maybe Afternoon Delight would work for her.

I was still chuckling when I answered the call.

Edward's low, warm voice made me shiver. "You sound like you're in a good mood."

"Rose was being funny."

"You're still at the studio?"

"No, ah, I'll explain later."

"Okay. Um, listen, Bella; I hate to do this—"

"No," I breathed, pain lancing through my chest. I sat down, my legs giving out. He was cancelling. He had thought it over and realized how inane this seemed. He had come to his senses.

Like he could read my mind, his voice became louder. "No! No, Little Sprite! Listen—please!"


"I don't want to cancel —that is the last fucking thing I want to do. But the dog —Lucy—the one I operated on? She's having a rough time of it. I can't leave her alone, so I have to stay. All I'm asking is if we could postpone until tomorrow." He paused. "Please?"

I exhaled as relief flowed through me. "Oh."

Edward chuckled. "Did you really think I would call and cancel on you unless I had a choice? God, Bella, I'm so disappointed, I can taste it."

"So you'll just sit there all evening in the clinic and watch over her?"

"Well, sort of."

"Sort of?"

"My, ah, house is attached to the clinic, so I'll bring Lucy there and make her comfortable. But I'll stay with her all night, yes."

"You live at the vet clinic?"

"I own the vet clinic, Bella."

"Oh. I didn't know."

"There's a lot you don't know about me. Yet. That was one of my goals for tonight. I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to seeing you again. But, Lucy is—"

I interrupted him. "Edward, it's fine. I understand. I think it's wonderful you care about your patients so much. Really."

He sighed. "I do. But tonight was important and I wanted to see you—more than I can say. But I have to stay. Unless…"


"Unless I could convince you to come here? I know it's not like a date date, but I could order in dinner and we could talk while I make sure Lucy's okay?" He paused. "I'd make it up to you tomorrow." His voice dropped. "I want to see you, Bella. So much."

There was no hard decision to be made here. I wanted to see him as well. "Yes. On one condition."

"You want more peppermints?"

I chuckled. "No. I'll bring something and make dinner."

"You don't have to do that."

"I want to."

"What about your fingers?"

"They're fine. A little sore, but still working."

"Okay. But I want to look them over again."

"Fine. So dinner?"

"Done. I'll text you directions."

"So you want me to come around six?"

"Would you think less of me if I said I wanted you to pick up whatever you're making and come as soon as you can?"


"The thought of walking in my door and seeing you in my kitchen making dinner for us, is kind of, um, doing things to me. So, yeah, I'd like that. A lot."

"Do I get a kiss hello?" I whispered.

"Hello, good evening, how are you, nice skirt, dinner smells great—any and all of them, Sprite."

"I'll go shopping."


"You didn't ask me if I was a good cook, Edward."

"Doesn't matter."

"Maybe what I make will be inedible."

The sexiest chuckle came over the line. "Then I guess I'll just have to eat you."

I dropped the phone.


I sat in my car looking at Edward's clinic. It was a little ways out of town, but still close enough for easy access. Built to look like a general store, it had a homey, country feel to it. It was set back from the road with ample parking in the front and a simple sign that said Veterinarian Clinic. The side driveway was labelled Private and I knew Edward's house was tucked behind the large clinic, attached by a big garage for easy access for him. He told me I could park out front and he would drive around back with me, show me where everything was, then he'd return to work while I made dinner for us.

We'd have the evening alone.

Simply the thought made me shiver.

There would definitely be some kissing involved, right?

My fingers fumbled as I pressed the button to lower the window. The temperature had suddenly risen in here again. I wasn't sure I had felt anything but warm and flushed since I hung up from Edward earlier.

When I picked up the phone after dropping it, stuttering out an apology, he started chuckling. He snickered even harder when I asked him if he kept fava beans and Chianti on hand for eating guests. Once he stopped laughing, he assured me— in a very low, sexy voice— that was not the kind of eating he meant. He planned on devouring me in an entirely different manner.

I dropped the phone again. He was howling so hard he could barely say goodbye.

A few minutes later he texted me.

Nom Nom Bella.

I sighed when I picked up the phone that time. It wasn't going to last at this rate.

I left the window open for a few minutes, needing the cooling air on my warm cheeks. I popped another peppermint in my mouth and chewed it, savouring the sweet, minty taste. Finally calmer, I walked up the path and into Edward's clinic.

I hesitated, stopping in the front entrance way. Should I ask for Edward? Dr. Cullen?

Would they find it strange I didn't have an animal with me?

A woman came out, holding a carrier with a small cat in it and held the inner door for me. Unable to stall anymore, I walked into the reception area. The waiting room was empty, but from behind the reception desk, a small, dark-haired woman smiled widely at me.

"Hello! Can I help you?"

I stepped forward to ask for Edward just as he came around the corner. Our eyes met and before I could move, he hurried toward me, dropping a file on the counter. "Little Sprite," he breathed, wrapping an arm around my waist, pulling me close. Without hesitating, he lifted me like I weighed nothing, cupping my head as he captured my lips with his.

Instantly I was on fire, wrapping my arms around his neck, burying my fingers in his amazing hair. Our glasses mashed together, pressing into my skin. I didn't care—neither did Edward. I whimpered at his possessive grip, almost weeping in relief at the feeling of his mouth working mine. He tasted less minty now and more coffee-ish and if possible, it was even more of a turn-on than earlier. He still tasted like Edward. He must have liked how I tasted as well since he groaned deep in the back of his throat; his hold becoming tighter.

A throat clearing behind him was like a gunshot in the room. I pulled back, remembering we weren't alone, my eyes panicked.

"Is that the new 'let's make the clients more welcome policy' you were talking about, Edward? Or can I assume this is Bella?" An amused voice chuckled.

Not letting me go, Edward turned around. "Bella," he rasped. "This is my sister, Alice."

"Hi," I squeaked, my face burning with embarrassment.

She grinned. "I think you owe me huge for this morning, brother."

"I do."

"Can I have a pony?"

"Yes. Take your pick from the stable. Any one you want is yours."

I gaped up at him. He had ponies?

I liked ponies.

"I'll give you one. Two if you want, Bella. " his voice murmured, his lips nuzzling my hair.

Oh. Had I said that out loud?

"Are you gonna put her down?" Alice smirked.

I looked down. I was wrapped in one strong arm, crushed against his chest, my feet dangling mid-air. One of my hands was still buried in his hair and the other gripping his white coat. We had to look ridiculous.

But Edward seemed to disagree. "Nope. When's my next appointment?"

"Ten minutes. Mrs. Newton's coming in with Mike. She wants him neutered."

I had to ask. "Mike's a dog, right?"

Edward looked down, his eyes glittering under the lights. "No, that's her husband. We do that on the side for special patients."

My eyebrows shot up, and both Edward and Alice laughed. Edward pressed another kiss to my head. "Yes, Mike is her dog."

"Ten minutes?" he asked Alice. She nodded, still grinning at us.

"Okay. I'm gonna show Bella my office."

Then, with my feet still dangling, he strode past his very amused sister. "Nice to meet you," I called over Edward's shoulder.

"You too!" she shouted.

Edward walked into a room, I assumed was his office. Hooking the door with his foot, it shut loudly behind us and in one move, I was pressed between two hard surfaces again for the second time that day.

Edward and a wall.

I was okay with that.

"Take off my glasses, Bella," he instructed. "Yours too," he growled.

With my very shaky hands I did, laying them on top of the filing cabinet beside us. "Nice office," I whispered.

"You know what the best part is?"


His hand moved and I heard a click.

"The door locks."

Then his mouth was on mine.

Yeah. Great office.

Like I said. Handsy.

I don't think Bella is objecting too much.

See you next week.